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This nail polish could help prevent date rape

25 August 2014, 1:40 pm EDT By Lauren Keating Tech Times
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Four men have teamed up to empower women to prevent sexual assault by giving them a way to detect date-rape drugs. Women will be able to wave over help before a sexual assault occurs when wearing this life- saving nail polish.

Students from North Carolina State University's Materials Science and Engineering department created "Undercover Colors" nail polish that changes colors when it comes in contact with the date-rape drugs Rohypnol, Xanax and GHB.

The men—Tyler Confrey-Maloney, Stephen Gray, Ankesh Mada and Tasso Von Windheim—have marketed the nail polish as "The First Fashion Company Empowering Women To Prevent Sexual Assault," by giving an easy way to detect the drugs and get themselves out of dangerous situations. A woman simply sticks her finger in her drink and stirs.

"While date rape drugs are often used to facilitate sexual assault, very little science exists for their detection. Our goal is to invent technologies that empower women to protect themselves from this heinous and quietly pervasive crime," the team writes on their Facebook. "If her nail polish changes color, she'll know that something is wrong."

The team was granted $11,250 from North Carolina State's Entrepreneurship Initiative that aims to develop solutions to "real world challenges." Undercover Colors was created because the men all personally know someone who was sexually assaulted. "We were thinking about big problems in our society, the topic of drug-facilitated sexual assault came up," Madan says. "...We began to focus on preventive solutions, especially those that could be integrated into products that women already use. And so the idea of creating a nail polish that detects date rape drugs was born."

Under the supervision of technical adviser, Dr. Nathaniel Finney from the NCSU Chemistry Department, the four men developed the prototype in lab space though the College of Veterinary Medicine, the only location in North Carolina where scientists can test these types of drugs.

The four men also received $100,000 from an investor who saw a demo of the nail polish during the K50 Startup Showcase. Still, Undercover Nails is still in the development stage, and is raising money through donations.

Hopefully, with the right funding, the new nail polish can help women gain control over potential harmful and life- threatening situations. A recent analysis found that in 2010, there were over 3,900 allegations of sexual assault on college campuses. In response, consumers have started seeing an increase in tech products that help combat sexual assualt. Kitestring, an app that makes sure women get home safely,  is another product that is gaining popularity in its efforts to empower women with the right tools.

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